“Too cute” yoga instructor loses her sex bias claim against her Playboy Playmate boss

Carrie Yoga shoot 002 (8328572519)

The case is called Dilek Edwards v.  Charles V. Nicolai and Stephanie Adams.

I’ll wait patiently while you take some time to Google the names.

[Cue music]

If, in any way, this all seems misogynistic to you, I assure it’s not. [Now, if I had used this music…]

So, let’s clear one this up. This is pure shameless clickbait. (Click click boom!) Indeed, if the case involved a “too cute” male yoga instructor and an ex-Playgirl Playmate, I’d be thanking the blogging gods just the same. And, using this music.

Besides, you’re the one who clicked, pot. Or are you the kettle?

“Stay the [F…] away from my husband and family!!!!!!!”

Dilek Edwards worked as a yoga massage therapist in NY for a company owned by Ms. Adams and her husband, Mr. Nicolai. According to Ms. Edwards’s Complaint filed in NY Supreme Court (in New York, the lower court is the Supreme Court), Ms. Nicolai thought highly of Ms. Edward’s work. At one point, however, he remarked to Ms. Edwards that his wife might become jealous of her because she was “too cute.” According to Ms. Edwards, she and Mr. Nicolai otherwise maintained a strictly professional relationship.

But, then Ms. Edwards received a text from Ms. Adams.

You are NOT welcome any longer at Wall Street Chiropractic, DO NOT ever step foot in there again, and stay the [F…] away from my husband and family!!!!!!! And remember I warned you

Several publications (e.g., NY Daily News, Daily Mail) report that Ms. Adams is a Playboy Playmate. Because, you can’t make this stuff up.

On the day following the Adams text, Ms. Edwards claims that Mr. Nicolai emailed her, “You are fired and no longer welcome in our office. If you call or try to come back, we will call the police.

Spousal jealousy is not sex discrimination.

Does this fact pattern seem familiar? Well, if you’ve been reading this blog for a few years, it should. Back in 2013, I wrote here about a case from Iowa, where a male dentist fired a attractive female hygienist, ostensibly because his wife was concerned that the hygienist’s continued employment might affect their marriage.

Indeed, when Ms. Nicolai and Ms. Adams filed their motion to dismiss Ms. Edwards’s Complaint, the Iowa decision was one of the cases upon which they relied. Ultimately, the Iowa Supreme Court concluded that firing an employee because of spousal jealousy is not sex discrimination.

Did the Supreme Court of New York find that Iowa decision compelling under the facts and circumstances before it? Yep…

Here, the only allegation in the Amended Complaint is that plaintiff was terminated by Nicolai because of the jealousy of Adams, namely that she thought plaintiff was “too cute.” The Amended Complaint includes no other fact or allegation to support a discrimination cause of action, including any allegation that plaintiff was treated differently than male employees, which may colorably give rise to a claim for sex discrimination at the
pleading stage. There is no allegation in the Amended Complaint that plaintiff was terminated because of her status as a woman. 

You can find a copy of the NY Supreme Court’s decision in Dilek Edwards v.  Charles V. Nicolai and Stephanie Adams here.

Employer takeaways.

There are a heckuva lot of ways to fire an employee without technically running afoul of the law. But, even if a termination is technically legal, when you do an employee dirty, you may end up on the receiving end of an employment lawsuit. Will you win that lawsuit? You should. However, consider the time and cost of defending it. Therefore, try to make the best of a bad situation. Showing respect and dignity go a long way when telling someone that they no longer have a job.

Image Credit: By Joel Nilsson (Carrie -Yoga shoot #002Uploaded by High Contrast) [<a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0″>CC BY-SA 2.0</a>], <a href=”https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ACarrie_Yoga_shoot_002_(8328572519).jpg”>via Wikimedia Commons</a>
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  • Heavy Metal Lawyer

    You mean we shouldn’t tell an employee to stay the F away from our family when we fire them via text message? Time to update our policy. No more bad words in the “you’re fired” texts.